Sales are one of the most high-pressure work environments out there. The need to constantly perform, the heavy competition from other companies, and the impetus to stay on the cutting edge of sales strategies all add together to create a high-octane business that requires good instincts, good training, and good support to thrive.
Taking a competitive approach to your company’s sales can help you get ahead in the game, but it also requires focus and hard work, as well as an understanding of the strategies involved in such an approach. We’ll give you an overview of the competitive sales approach, as well as some key strategies you can use to help distance yourself from your competitors.
What is competitive sales?
Where other types of sales approaches focus exclusively on your company or products and how they can help solve your customer’s problems, competitive sales acknowledge the existence of competition in the field and actually makes them the primary focus of the sales pitch.
Competitive selling is not about solving a problem for your potential client—not directly, at any rate—but rather a two-pronged approach. The first prong is where you seek to beat out the competition by developing strong and long-term relationships with potential clients. The second prong is all about showing those same clients exactly why they should select your product over the competition.
How does competitive sales work?
There are three primary approaches you can take when asked by a potential client, “how do you rate amongst your competitors?” Your own strategy can focus on any one of them or a combination of multiple if you feel that would suit your company.
The first approach is less about pointing out why you may be right for the potential client and more about demonstrating why the competitor isn’t. This can include tactics like focusing on the shortcomings of the competitor’s products, poor user reviews, or failures to deliver what they promised. It’s doing everything you ethically can to show why the competitor’s product isn’t worth their time.
You can also prove yourself without acknowledging competitors. You focus entirely on your company and how what you offer the prospective client is the best option in the marketplace. When asked about competitors, you respond with confidence in your product, showing competitors don’t matter when yours is the best in the market.
The third approach is comparing the features of yourself and your competitors. You’ll need to have a thorough understanding of what competitors offer and how you stack up against them. You provide a point-by-point comparison, positioning yourself as the one that provides the best deal. A virtual teleprompter like VODIUM would be helpful here, allowing you to consult your list without digging through notes and seeming more competent.
One thing to remember when utilizing any of these approaches is to remain respectful, even when criticizing your competitor. Yes, your goal is to close as many deals as you can, but remember that you are all expanding the market and becoming more and more relevant together. Think of them as an honored foe, worthy of respect, but also one you want to beat as often as possible.
Strategies for a competitive sales advantage
Know your market and know your enemy
There’s a term in politics known as “opposition research,” which is deeply researching one’s immediate competition. In politics, the idea is to find and exploit weaknesses to help your candidate get elected. In business, the idea is similar, but there’s also another aspect to it.
Not only should you know who your direct competitors are, but you should also know what aspects of the business you perform better than they do. You’ll know what their weaknesses are, but also what aspects they outperform your own business. This will allow you to strengthen your own processes based on what you observe in your competition.
More than just studying your competition, though, studying your industry, in general, should be a priority as well. After all, you can’t provide solutions for a market about which you know next to nothing.
Believe in your brand and invest in your identity
The car salesman who doesn’t drive the brand he sells, the restaurant owner who always eats out, and the mechanic who takes his car to a dealership. These are all examples of a lack of faith in one’s brand. And if you don’t believe in your business and invest in its success, who will?
Investing in your brand and believing in your business’s identity is one of the most critical aspects of making it in the competitive marketplace. Success often hinges on finding your business’s unique selling point—one or more aspects of your business that differentiate you from the competition—and working to both develop and showcase those points.
The cleaning business that utilizes a specialized stain-removal formula. The SaaS company that offers live, local tech support. Even something as simple as delivering what was promised in the time frame it was promised can set you apart from the pack, depending on the marketplace.
Investing in your brand means figuring out how best to showcase who you are and who you are building your company to be. It should always come across in your promotional literature, the sales pitch you give to potential clients, and within the walls of the business itself. It can make its way into your internal communications and shape your corporate culture.
And, if the brand becomes especially successful, you may find communities building up around it. Building a “brand community” can have your own customers selling your product for you. Do not underestimate the value of investing in your company’s identity.
Don’t use lower prices to get ahead
It sounds like a good strategy, right? Lower the prices in order to sell more products and reach more people. It’s just logical!
There are a couple of problems with that approach. The first, and simplest to understand, is that you only gain value from that approach until another competitor undercuts you, at which point you either have to lower prices again or be edged out of the competition.
The second problem with that approach is an odd one that most people don’t think about. Our brains are wired to equate lower prices with lower quality. And conversely, to equate high prices with higher quality.
Lowering your price should be a tool, not a crutch. A better approach is to price your product/service reasonably and lean into what makes it unique and how it’s positioned to solve a customer’s problem.
Improve every customer interaction
This one should be intuitive, but it bears mentioning anyway. Especially in a highly-competitive market, it can be easy to focus on the next big thing and miss out on business fundamentals. Be helpful and human. Be a personable individual who wants to help the client on the other end of the call to get the best experience they can get.
You would be amazed how quickly a friendly attitude and a helpful demeanor can turn a prospective client from a “possible” to a “definite.”
There are all sorts of tools that exist to help you and your sales force be as personable and competent as they can be. Apps like VODIUM can be used to prepare a sales speech in advance or control the pacing depending on how the customer responds.
Get a competitive sales advantage with VODIUM
When trying to remain competitive in a thriving marketplace, you need to grab and hold onto any advantage you can. VODIUM is a world-class teleprompter app that can help you take control of virtual sales calls and present the most competent, confident, and, above all, competitive image to prospective clients as possible.
Stop by and start your free trial today, and let VODIUM help take your business to the next level!